SRI LANKA: Six universities to be upgraded

Sri Lanka's Higher Education Ministry last week announced the launch of a special programme to upgrade six local universities, allocating some US$6 million to improving teaching, research and infrastructure to 'international' levels within the next few years. The universities to be upgraded as are Colombo, Peradeniya, Moratuwa, Kelaniya, Ruhuna and Sri Jayewardenepura.

The government's objective is for them to become among the top 1,000 universities in the world, as part of Sri Lanka's aim to become a knowledge hub for Asia. At the moment Sri Lankan universities are do not appear in global university rankings, said Sunil Jayantha Navaratne, Secretary of the Higher Education Ministry.

Navaratne said US$1 million would be allocated to each university to improve infrastructure and courses. A number of programmes would be restructured, training for lecturers provided, and international and industry research collaborations boosted.

"Sri Lankan universities are conducting less research compared to foreign universities. Hence interacting with foreign universities and their academics will help [them] to reach international standard," he said.

Higher Education Minister SB Dissanayake (pictured) said the education system was outdated, with local universities too heavily focussed on teaching and learning.

"To become Asia's knowledge hub we must improve research and development activities," Dissanayake said, adding that private companies and government institutions should get the assistance of local universities to conduct research.

According to global university rankings, Sri Lankan universities are lagging far behind. "We are not even among the best 3,000 universities. Our target is to be within the best 1,000," said the minister.

"In order [for a university] to reach a rank above 1,000, there are three criteria that will need to be fulfilled, such as publication [in] world class refereed journals, foreign student intake and foreign academic teaching. Also the university should produce globally employable graduates," Navaratne said.

For public universities to increase the intake of international students, the current 5% cap on their numbers will have to be increased. The government has said it will increase that cap to 10% of total enrolments by next year to attract students from other Asian countries, including China.

Three more universities - Rajarata, Jaffna and Eastern - have been mentioned for increased government investment in a second phase of upgrades in the future.


Only Sinhala Universities were selected. It shows that this government will never treat Tamils equal.

What else is new?


Ha ha! "Sinhala universities" - that is a new one. There is nothing called "Sinhala universities" in Sri Lanka. Just look at the student population; there are thousands of Tamils and Muslims in universities all around the country. There is only a Tamil university in Jaffna, because the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam systematical scared off the Sinhala and Muslims from this university. Don't try to put petty extremist separatist ideas into this, Ramya!


The comment above is totally wrong. Lots of Tamil students are studying in those six universities. When it comes to Moratuwa and Peradeniya,there are many more Tamil students. All universities are for everyone.


No need to talk Sinhala or Tamil universties but its only fair to upgrade Jaffna Univeristy and send Sinhalese and Muslim students if they so wish! Why select only universities down south? The north badly needs development.